Monday, December 08, 2014

Thanks to The Word Among Us Press for Today's Package

Today's package was from Word Among Us Press and it held some real gems:

About the Book:
For years, Abide in My Word has been helping Catholics follow the daily and Sunday Mass Scripture readings and stay attuned to the liturgical year. Its enduring popularity lies in its convenience and simplicity. The complete text for each day s Mass readings, including the responsorial psalm, is easily located, arranged chronologically by date. Its light weight makes it a great traveling companion. The Scripture texts are taken from the Church s official Lectionary for Mass for Use in Dioceses of the United States, which is based on the New American Bible translation that U.S. Catholics hear at Mass. This is a gift that can be used every day of the year to abide in God through his word.

Covers the entire calendar year of 2015

My Comments:
This is an excellant resource for anyone who wants to follow the daily or weekly Mass readings.  While a bit large to be comfortably carried in a purse, it would fit into a briefcase with ease and would be right at home on a bedside table.  It is a one year book--each reading is for a specific day, not Cycle A, first Monday in Advent or the like.  The book has only the readings, no commentary or meditations.  There is enough white space on most pages for a few notes though serious journalers will want to look for something in addition to this book.  Grade:  A.  

About the Book:
“All the way to heaven is heaven,” wrote St. Catherine of Siena, “because Jesus said, ‘I am the way.’” The gift of eternal life begins with our baptism and ends in paradise, where we will live forever in God’s embrace. The theme for this year’s prayer journal will help remind us each day to look to Jesus, who is our way to heaven. And as we spend each morning in prayer with the Lord, we can draw closer to him by recording our thoughts, reflections, petitions, and answered prayers. This year’s prayer journal includes:

   •  A Scripture verse or quotation from a saint or well-known spiritual writer on each page;
   •  A complete listing of the Mass readings for each day of the year;
   •  Ample space for writing;
   •  An inspiring selection of prayers and quotations at the beginning of each month.

My Comments:
This is the perfect companion book to Abide in My Word.  You can look inside the journal here to see if it provides enough room for you.  Once upon a time journaling used to be my prayer form and I would write a page or two in a composition book nightly.  For someone who writes like that, this book probably wouldn't be big enough but for someone who wants to jot down prayer intentions or write a thought or two, it is the perfect size, and if you need something to ponder, each week gives you two quotes, either from Scripture, or from a saint or Pope.  If you don't have a book with the Mass readings, this lists them so you can look them up.  Grade:  A.

About the Book:
The Eucharist is a practical reality Jesus wants to be present in our everyday encounters and experiences. In down-to-earth and often humorous ways, author Chris Padgett helps us find an immediate connection between receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and living a holy life in difficult times. The forty reflections in this book will enlarge your vision of the power of Christ through the Eucharist to change your life and those you meet.

My Comments:
These reflections are about three pages each and end with a prayer starter.  For example, one of the reflections included a story about the author's son recognizing Jesus on the crucifix in a strange church, but then asking "How did He get here?".  Padgett then talks about inviting Jesus into our lives and the prayer starter says "When did I recently invite Jesus into the moments of my day?  When may I have forgotten to do so?"  I may have more to say about this book after I have read more than one reflection but for now I'll give it a B+. 

About the Book:
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are often called “spiritual disciplines.” The term highlights their similarity to physical disciplines. But like a physical fitness program, we can go through the motions of these practices without deriving much benefit from them. Jesus wants the spiritual disciplines to work for us. Only the Holy Spirit can make us holy, but we can spur the Spirit to help us. That is what almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are: ways of seeking the Holy Spirit’s help, ways of beginning to cooperate with his work in us.

In this Bible study, popular Scripture commentator Kevin Perrotta selects six readings from Scripture—one Old Testament and one New Testament text for each spiritual discipline. Each passage confront us with some of the most important aspects of these practices, showing us why we undertake them and how they can transform us so that we become more like the persons that God has created us to be.
Perfect for Lent but can also be used at any time of year.
“In the Spotlight” sections highlight background information on passages, words used in Scripture, and biblical history.

My Comments:
While I haven't done more than flip through this book, it looks like a quick non-technical Bible study.  It is divided into six chapters with an introduction and a guide for using with a group.  Each section begins with a Scripture passage--Session 1 is Ruth 1:1-22 (wonder why I like that one?) Following the passage is some explanatory material that ties the reading into the theme.  This is followed by some questions marked "Understand!" and the questions themselves have some explanation in them.  There is space to answer them in the book.  These questions are basically text-based.  Then there are questions marked "Grow!" which relate the story to your life.  One example is "Serving others' needs can be burdensome.  When have you found joy in helping another person?" Again there is space for the reader to answer the question.  There is no room to answer the "Reflect!" questions and they are obviously there to be fodder for prayer over a period of time.  The "Act!" section challanges you to select one action to do as a result of this study.  The sections also include sections titled "In the Spotlight" that may tell about other people or other scripture passages that go along with the theme.  

I'll review this one once I have time to go through it.

About the Book:
The joy of the Lord is our strength (cf. Nehemiah 8:10). Worries, pressures, disappointments, and stress are the weeds that crowd out the fruit of joy in our hearts. How can we remember that God's joy is available to us at every moment? How can we resist succumbing to negativity, sadness, or cynicism? Anne Costa writes about the joy of the Lord in this book of one hundred short meditations. In each one, she challenges us to see how we can choose God's joy in the everyday events and encounters of our lives. Costa's gentle reminders can help you break into joy and live in the love that Christ has for you.

My Comments:
This book is the perfect size to tuck into your purse to pull out when you have a minute to spare.  It contains one hundred meditations.  Each starts with a Scripture verse.  That verse is generally followed by a story. For example, one meditation is on Phillipians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I shall say it again:  Rejoice!".  The story that follows is about a woman whose husband left her.  She was unhappy and wondered if she would ever have joy again.  Then she happened upon a book that reminded her that the Bible said to rejoice, it did not command us to be joyful always.  It spoke about Job rejoicing, even with all that befell him.  The sections end with a "Joy Note"--a question to ponder.  In this case the question was "Are you rejoicing today?"  While I've only read a couple of the sections, I'll give this book a B+.  

About the Book:
Even before he died, his contemporaries honored Francis, the poor man of Assisi, as a saint. He has lost none of his appeal for people today—even our pope has taken the name of this great saint. That’s because the message of Francis for us is quite simply the message of Jesus. 

This book looks not only at Francis’ life and times but also helps us see how we can take on his spirituality in dealing with the challenges in our lives and in the world today. The authors shed light on Francis’ love of poverty, his rejection of violence, his call to reform the Church, his reaction to suffering, and his sacramental vision of life—all the while challenging us to see how fully living out the radical call of the gospel gives us joy and answers the problems besetting our world today.

My Comments:
I'd classify this as a spiritual biography.  The authors tell the story of St. Francis' life but use it to teach about his spirituality.  Since I haven't read it, I won't comment more at this point except to say that each chapter has reflection questions at the end.  I'll review this one when I finish it.  

Thanks again to  The Word Among Us Press.  

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